Melanie R. Palomares, M.D., M.S.​


Qualifications & Training

1998-2003, UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON (Seattle, WA) –  Master of Science in Epidemiology, December 2002.  Senior Fellow, Clinical Cancer Genetics,  2002-2003.

1997-2002, FRED HUTCHINSON CANCER RESEARCH CENTER (Seattle, WA) – Postdoctoral Fellow, Division of Public Health Sciences, Cancer Prevention Research Program, 2000-2002. Clinical fellowship in Medical Oncology, 1997-2000. Board certification Medical Oncology, 2001.

1993-1997, HARBOR-UCLA MEDICAL CENTER (Torrance, CA) – Clinical fellowship in Hematology, 1996-1997. Residency in Internal Medicine, 1993-1996. Board certification Internal Medicine, 1997, and Hematology, 2000.

1989-1993, EMORY UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF MEDICINE (Atlanta, GA) – Doctor of Medicine, May 1993.

1984-1988, BOSTON UNIVERSITY (Boston, MA) – Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics and Statistics with minor in Biology, September 1988.


2007 – present, Adjunct Professor, Preventive Medicine and Internal Medicine, University of Southern California

2015 – present, Senior Medical Officer, Oncology, Covance by Labcorp

2014 – 2015, Consultant, Molecular Pharmacology, Surgical Research and Population Sciences, City of Hope

2007 – 2014, Assistant Professor, Medical Oncology and Population Sciences

2003 – 2010, Instructor, Clinical Cancer Genetics, City of Hope


  • Southwest Oncology Group (SWOG)
    • Prevention, Survivorship, and Breast Cancer Committees, 2003-14.
  • Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology (former CALGB, ACOSOG, and NCCTG),
    • Prevention Committee, 2012-14.
  • American Society of Clinical Oncologists (ASCO), Member
    • Educational Committee, Prevention/Epidemiology Track, 2009-12.
  • American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), Member



  • Palomares MR. “The Greatest Weapon Against Cancer is Knowledge.” In: The Authorities: Powerful Wisdom from Leaders in the Field. Raymond Aaron, ed. Markham, ON: 10-10-10 Publishing, 1-17, 2017.


On Cancer Risk Assessment

  • Kempers MJ, Kuiper RP, Ockeloen CW, Chappuis PO, Hutter P, Rahner N, Schackert HK, Steinke V, Holinski-Feder E, Morak M, Kloor M, Büttner R, Verwiel ET, van Krieken JH, Nagtegaal ID, Goossens M, van der Post RS, Niessen RC, Sijmons RH, Kluijt I, Hogervorst FB, Leter EM, Gille JJ, Aalfs CM, Redeker EJ, Hes FJ, Tops CM, van Nesselrooij BP, van Gijn ME, Gómez García EB, Eccles DM, Bunyan DJ, Syngal S, Stoffel EM, Culver JO, Palomares MR, Graham T, Velsher L, Papp J, Oláh E, Chan TL, Leung SY, van Kessel AG, Kiemeney LA, Hoogerbrugge N, Ligtenberg MJ. Risk of colorectal and endometrial cancers in EPCAM deletion-positive Lynch syndrome: a cohort study. Lancet Oncol, 2011 Jan;12(1):49-55. PMID: 21145788.
  • Edwards QT and Palomares MR. Assessment of risk for breast cancer: Utilizing history and quantitative models in primary care. J Nurse Pract, 2008 May; 4(5):361-9.
  • Weitzel JN, Cullinane C, Lagos VL, Gambol P, Culver JO, Blazer KR, Palomares MR, Lowstuter K, and MacDonald DJ. Family structure predicts BRCA mutations in single cases of breast cancer. JAMA, 2007 Jun 20;297(23):2587-95. PMID: 17579227.
  • Buhr R, Lagos VI, Santiago NM, MacDonald DJ, Lowstuter K, Edwards QT, Weitzel JN, Palomares MR. “Effects of genetic cancer risk assessment on breast cancer perceived risk and screening behaviors in a cohort of unaffected women.” Breast Cancer Res Treat, 106 (Suppl 1):4032, 2006.
  • Ricker C, Lagos V, Feldman N, Hiyama S, Fuentes S, Kumar V, Gonzalez K, Palomares M, Blazer K, Lowstuter K, Macdonald D, Weitzel J. If we build it, will they come? – establishing a cancer genetics services clinic for an underserved predominantly Latina cohort. J Genet Couns, 2006 Dec;15(6):505-14. PMID: 17106633.
  • Palomares MR, Machia JRB, Lehman CD, Daling J, McTiernan A. Mammographic density correlation with Gail model breast cancer risk estimates and component risk factors. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev, 2006 Jul;15(7):1324-30. PMID: 16835331.
  • Palomares MR, Paz IB, Weitzel JN. Genetic cancer risk assessment in the newly diagnosed breast cancer patient is useful and possible in practice. J Clin Onc, 2005 May 1;23(13):3165-6PMID: 1
  • Geva T, Weitzel JN, Dagis A, Longmate JA, Culver JO, Palomares MR. “Predicting BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations in women with carcinoma in situ of the breast.” Proc Am Soc of Hum Gen, 130, 2006.
  • MacDonald, DJ, Blazer, KR, Lowstuter, K, Culver, J, Palomares, MR, and Weitzel, JN. “A novel interdisciplinary intensive course in cancer risk counseling and community-based research.” Proc Oncol Nurs Soc and Proc Intl Soc Nurs Genet, 2006.
  • Ho J, Herzog J, Lagos V, Lowstuter K, Palomares M, Blazer K, MacDonald D, Feldman N, Weitzel J. “Characterization of a novel founder rearrangement mutation of BRCA1 in high-risk Hispanic families.” J Clin Onc, 24(18S): 10015, 2006.
  • Weitzel JN, Hendrickson B, Lagos V, Lowstuter K, Herzog J, Ho J, Palomares MR, Blazer K, Gonzalez K, Scholl T. “Identification of a frequent large genomic rearrangement of BRCA1 in high-risk Hispanic families.” Proc Am Soc of Hum Gen, 362, 2005.
  • Palomares MR, Aiello E, Lehman CD, Gralow JR, McTiernan A. “Mammographic breast density as a noninvasive surrogate marker of breast cancer risk: a comparison of density assessment methods.” Proc Amer Assoc Cancer Res (1st ed), 44:2900,
  • Palomares MR, Pratt KD, Lehman CD, McTiernan A. “Mammographic density correlates with the Gail model: Implications for a new marker of breast cancer risk.” Proc Amer Soc Clin Oncol, 1689, 2001.

On Cancer Prevention

  • Palomares MR, Banzet M, Lu L, Justus J, Ottesen RA, Niland JC. “Breast cancer risk reduction choices among patients with DCIS.” J Clin Oncol, 30, 2012 (suppl; abstr 1562).
  • Palomares MR, Rodriguez J, Phung S, Stanczyk FZ, Lacey S, Synold TW, Denison S, Frankel P, Chen, S. “A dose-finding clinical trial of mushroom powder in postmenopausal breast cancer survivors for secondary breast cancer prevention.”, J Clin Oncol, 29: 2011 (suppl; abstr 1582).
  • Dunbier AK, Hong Y, Masri S, Brown KA, Sabnis GJ, Palomares MR. Progress in aromatase research and identification of key future directions. J Steroid Biochem Molec Biol 2010 Feb 28;118(4-5):311-5. PMID: 19778609.
  • Palomares MR, Valle NP, Phung S, Stanczyk FZ, Synold TW, Frankel P, Chen S. “A Phase I Prevention Trial of Grape Seed Extract as a Natural Aromatase Inhibitor in Healthy Post-Menopausal Women at Risk for Breast Cancer.” Proc Amer Assoc Cancer Res, 3001, April 2009.
  • Mai PL, Lagos VI, Palomares MR, Weitzel JN. Contralateral risk-reducing mastectomy in young breast cancer patients with and without genetic cancer risk assessment. Ann Surg Oncol, 2008 Dec;15(12):3415-21. PMID: 18836779.
  • Palomares MR, Adams, LS, Phung, S, Lopez LR, Synold TW, Chen S. “A translational clinical trial to demonstrate anti-estrogenic activity of mushrooms.” Proc Amer Assoc Cancer Res, B133, December 2007.
  • Palomares MR, Phung S, Eng ET, Kijima I, Vu CA, Synold TW, Chen S. “Translation of grape seed extract as a natural aromatase inhibitor for breast cancer prevention.” Proc Amer Assoc Cancer Res, B166,
  • Palomares MR, Synold TW, Vu CA, Eng ET, Kijima I, Chen S. “Grape seed extract as a natural aromatase inhibitor.” Proc Soc Integrative Onc, C021,
  • Palomares MR, Vu CA, Sand S, Weitzel JN, Chen S. “Recruitment challenges for cancer prevention clinical trials.” Proc Amer Assoc Cancer Res 47:662, 2006.
  • Hur G, Phung S, Oh S, Kwok S, Sarter B, Palomares M, Weitzel J, and Chen S. “Breast cancer prevention with phytochemicals in grape seed extract.” Proc Amer Assoc Cancer Res, 46:4278,
  • Palomares MR, Hopper L, Goldstein L, Lehman CD, Storer BE, Gralow JR. “Effect of soy isoflavones on breast proliferation in postmenopausal breast cancer survivors.” Breast Cancer Res Treat, 88 (Suppl 1): 4002,
  • Palomares MR, Hopper L, Lehman CD, Storer BE, Gralow JR. “Effect of phytoestrogens on menopausal symptoms in breast cancer survivors.” Proc Soc Integrative Onc, 75,
  • Palomares MR, Hopper L, Goldstein L, Lehman CD, Gralow JR. “Acceptability of breast core biopsy as a tissue sampling method for a chemoprevention trial.” Proc Amer Assoc Cancer Res, 45:1344,
  • Palomares MR, Goldstein L, Lehman CD, Hopper L, Gralow JR. “Feasibility of breast tissue sampling in a chemoprevention trial with histologic biomarker endpoints.” Breast Cancer Res Treat, 82 (Suppl 1): 1034,
  • Palomares MR, Richardson-Lander A, LaBrash L, Gralow JR. “The effect of phytoestrogens on normal breast tissue in postmenopausal breast cancer survivors: an ongoing trial,” Proceedings of the 2002 Department of Defense Era of Hope Meeting.
  • Palomares MR, Gralow JR. “The effect of phytoestrogens on normal breast tissue in postmenopausal breast cancer survivors: a feasibility study,” Proceedings of the 2002 American Institute for Cancer Research Conference.
  • Palomares MR, Pratt KD, Machia JRB, Lehman CD, Yasui Y, McTiernan A. “Tamoxifen modifies mammographic density, a noninvasive marker of breast cancer risk.” Breast Cancer Res Treat, 70(Suppl 1): 133, 2001.

On Early Detection Of Cancer

    • Palomares MR, Hageman L, Chen Y, Landier W, Smith K, Umphrey H, Reich CA, Zamora KW, Armenian SH, Bevers TB, Blaes A, Henderson T, Hodgson D, Hudson MM, Korde LA, Melin SA, Merajver SD, Overholser L, Pruthi S, Wong FL, Garber JE.  “A Randomized Phase IIb Study of Low-dose Tamoxifen in Chest-irradiated Cancer Survivors at Risk for Breast Cancer.” Clin Cancer Res, 2020 Dec 3.  PMID: 33272980
    • Andersen MR, Karlan BY, Drescher CW, Paley P, Hawley S, Palomares M, Daly MB, Urban N. False-positive screening events and worry influence decisions about surgery among high-risk women. Health Psychol. 2019 Jan;38(1):43-52. PMID: 30431292
    • Urban N, Hawley S, Janes H, Karlan BY, Berg CD, Drescher CW, Manson JE, Palomares MR, Daly MB, Wactawski-Wende J, O’Sullivan MJ, Thorpe J, Robinson RD, Lane D, Li CI, Anderson GL. Identifying post-menopausal women at elevated risk for epithelial ovarian cancer, Gynecol Oncol, 2015 Sep 3. pii: S0090-8258(15)30115-3. PMID: 26343159.
    • Fong MY, Zhou W, Liu L, Alontaga AY, Chandra M, Ashby J, Chow A, O’Connor ST, Li S, Chin AR, Somlo G, Palomares M, Li Z, Tremblay JR, Tsuyada A, Sun G, Reid MA, Wu X, Swiderski P, Ren X, Shi Y, Kong M, Zhong W, Chen Y, Wang SE. Breast-cancer-secreted miR-122 reprograms glucose metabolism in premetastatic niche to promote metastasis. Nat Cell Biol. 2015 Feb;17(2):183-94. PMID: 25621950.
    • Zhou W, Fong MY, Min Y, Somlo G, Liu L, Palomares MR, Yu Y, Chow A, O’Connor ST, Chin AR, Yen Y, Wang Y, Marcusson EG, Chu P, Wu J, Wu X, Li AX, Li Z, Gao H, Ren X, Boldin MP, Lin PC, Wang SE. Cancer-secreted miR-105 destroys vascular endothelial barriers to promote metastasis. Cancer Cell. 2014 Apr 14;25(4):501-15. doi: 10.1016/j.ccr.2014.03.007. PMID: 24735924
    • Karlan BY, Thorpe J, Watabayashi K, Drescher CW, Palomares MR, Daly MB, Paley P, Hillard P, Andersen MR, McIntosh M, Anderson G, Drapkin R, Urban N. Use of CA125 and HE4 serum markers to predict ovarian cancer in elevated-risk women, Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev, 2014 Jul;23(7):1383-93. PMID: 24789859.
    • Urban N, Thorpe J, Karlan BY, McIntosh MW, Palomares MR, Daly MB, Paley P, Drescher CW. Interpretation of single and serial measures of HE4 and CA125 in asymptomatic women at high risk for ovarian cancer. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev, 2012 Nov;21(11):2087-94. PMID: 22962406.
    • Palomares MR, Rodriguez J, Banzet M, Thomas A, Schuster GT, Koehler KM, Gralow JR, Sabath DE. “Serial measurements of circulating tumor cells by quantitative RT-PCR in metastatic breast cancer patients receiving systemic therapy.” Proceedings of the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, abstract #5027, December 2008.
    • Palomares MR, Rodriguez J, Blanchard S, Koehler KM, Thomas A, Sabath DE. “Blood tumor markers for molecular diagnosis of breast cancer: correlation with disease course.” Proceedings of Department of Defense Era of Hope Meeting, abstract #1214, June 2008.
    • Liu Q, Chen Z, Yang C, Yan J, Feng J, Somlo G, Palomares M, Sommer S. “Personalized monitoring for breast cancer recurrence.” Proc Amer Assoc Cancer Res, 4519, April 2008.
    • Palomares MR, Schuster G, Thomas AK, Koehler KM, Gralow JR, Sabath DE. “Monitoring circulating breast cancer cells by quantitative real time RT-PCR.” Breast Cancer Res Treat, 94 (Suppl 1):1018, 2005.
    • Palomares MR, Richardson-Lander A, Koehler KM, Gralow JR, Sabath DE. “Quantitative real-time RT-PCR for the detection of circulating breast cancer cells: correlation with stage and treatment.” Breast Cancer Res Treat, 76(Suppl 1): 414, 2002.
    • Palomares MR, Kussick SJ, Koehler KM, Sabath DE. “Comparison of quantitative real-time RT-PCR and flow cytometry for the detection of circulating breast cancer cells using positive versus negative epithelial enrichment methods.” Int J Bio Markers, 17(Suppl 2): S45, 2002.

Our Affiliations